"As dead dreams fall heavy on her
she staggers out in tatters
bruised breasts smell of raw flesh
the soul weeps in the ashes
of burnt apparels of dignity"-Dr. Rita Malhotra, Poet-Mathematician
Life is laced with irony. Isn't it? What I till yesterday was touting as perhaps the best day of my life in JMC turned out the be the tragic last day of life of Radhika Tanwar, the now-much-hyped Ram Lal Anand student, killed by her own college mate. It was the International Women's Day yesterday, and being the flag bearer of as society which pledges to work for the rights and dignity of women in the college and society at large, I was celebrating it in gay abandon in the grandest auditorium one can come across in the University, isolated from the world. As the show moved on, I received a request on the stage to make an announcement cautioning the girls against moving to Satya Niketan, for some sort of a murder had taken place there. Having admonished the audience, I moved ahead with the programme, hell bent upon making it the best Women's Day Celebration JMC had seen ever. And so it became. And then, I got to know what a heinous crime had been committed less than a kilometer away from my college.
Let me get it straight here. I am NOT blogging because I feel threatened living in a city as 'unsafe' as Delhi. I have lived through my fair share of eve teasing incidents. Honestly put, they were gross, disturbing. I remember this rain washed day, I was walking down a road, short of money, walking in stead of taking a riskshaw, drenched head to toe. A black Santro stopped near me, and some veritably ruffian faces invited me to be seated with them in the car lest I fall ill because of the downpour. I was scared, but I reacted quick. Sought help from the nearest human I could spot, and fled in no time. Till date I wonder, if not for that man who helped me escape the place, what would have happened to me.
So, I started observing caution. Basic safety rules acquired paramount importance. Buses preferred to autos when during dusky hours, no opulent clothing when in bare view of public, moving with the crowd as much as possible, avoiding lonely spots, learning to trust no one. In simple language, I stopped trusting the public machinery for my safety, and this I say despite the fact that in the contemporary scenario of venom being spit on the government from all conceivable directions, I remain a believer in the state machinery. It is a convenient way of living. I hold trust in the state for protecting me, and I put in place all precautionary measures to protect myself.
Another, very clear and succinct reason behind this attitude of mine is a realization of the fact that if we really, truly want to bring about a change, any type of change, small or big, momentous or otherwise, we can do it much better by infiltrating the system, rather than standing up in arms against it. Our nationalist leaders recognized it during the freedom struggle. They called it 'wreck from within', I call it 'resurrect from within'. It is not idealistic, trust me. It is perhaps as pragmatic as it can get. Hurdles galore, I know and realize that, but historically, a path unto greatness has never been found which has not been laced with obstacles mammoth in size. Make a resolve today, and chase it unto the horizon, chase it till you win. If protests are your way of dealing with it, I support you with my wishes, not so much by my actions; but if protests are really your way of doing it, make sure you turn it into a Jessica Lall success(with a slightly twisted objective), and not one of those numerous Jantar Mantar protests which die down even before they are heard.
Am I allowed to give a very idealistic solution to this whole security mess that has been created? The practicability if this solution is nearly zero, but it's my blog, I am allowed even to be insane if it is my calling. There is a certain DCP Chhaya Sharma (refer article pasted below), who has turned one of the most crime prone zones in Delhi into a very safe and secure area, especially for females. I have had the good fortune of having shared a room with this firebrand woman IPS, the vanguard of the very successful models of safety employed in Delhi- the metropolis with the most shameful reputation with respect to civilian security. She looks purposeful, almost invariably, almost always. If possible, however bleak or miniscule this possibility, please get her to the South Delhi Campus, and give her a chance to set up a model for our campus, which is home to five of the best girls' colleges, and yet, has a very justified ignominious reputation as far as law and order is concerned.
I don't know how this sounds, but losing hope, is not my way. India is a country of great paradoxes. While we rant on about how the rural poor live in conditions of abject destitution, there is model I always like to keep in mind as I advance ahead with my bureaucratic ambitions. It is the model of a village called Hivre Bazar, which was almost on the brink of a collapse, with massive penury and resource scarcity leading to an exodus of locals into nearby villages. Today, that same village is home to 54 millionaires, with an infrastructure which can put even towns to shame, and all this change is the result of the efforts of a few enterprising young individuals, who sought the Constitutional path to revolutionize a society for which 'hope' was too far fetched a word. They were visionaries, the question is, how many of us can pursue a cause with as much dedication as they did. They took advantage of only two amendments to the Constitution, the 73rd and 74th, but more than anything else, it was their conscientiousness, pragmatic dynamism, and their WILL which caused the change. How many of us have that fire within us?
Our country is a great country, but it is in dire need of able, empowered and, as earlier stated, conscientious young people to cultivate an irrevocable feeling of belonging towards it. Doing something for the country should not be an onerous duty, but a sweet responsibility. I cannot live without hope. Yesterday, a candle was extinguished. Tomorrow we'll light a million more. And yes, while I do insinuate towards the candle light vigil organized tomorrow at Satya Niketan at one thirty, to which all of you are, of course, invited, what I actually mean is that if we actually, genuinely feel disturbed by the hideous crime committed, the flame should be lit within us, so that darker anti social elements, who come from among us are banished forever. Demanding security is a primary right, but try and do this without allowing Radhika Tanwar, a beloved daughter to now grieving parents, to be come a media doll used for lambasting aimlessly at the state mechanisms. As I said earlier, try and not wreck, but resurrect.